Have you ever noticed how some dogs smell like a stuffed animal?

When I was three years old my parents rehomed an older dog. At the time, we lived in the high desert of Southern California, in a tiny town of cinder block houses. Her family knew ours and my mom thought the dog would fit in. She did, so much so that I stopped playing with my dolls and only wanted to be with her. She was a big, fluffy Samoyed dog who I believed needed me to brush her, every chance I could.

I could sit for hours on the dirty concrete in our car port, surrounded by potential playthings, and only care about her well-being in that hot arid climate. I felt so calm next to her dusty fluffy bear-like body. I would smile into her panting face. Why care that my doll could walk with a push of a button, when I had an open mouth breathing lion to care for? I had a wild beast as my best friend, who smelled like a stuffed animal.

We were inseparable. I never played with dolls again. When I look back fifty years later, I can see this was no coincidence but fate. I had been destined to be a dog lover.

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Enter Chispa. During a recent morning session volunteering at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, I met this lovely lady that you see here. In less than a minute, she brought back memories of my Samoyed. Softly petting Chispa between the eyes, letting her creep closer as she accepted my love, I felt a familiar warmth pass between us.

Without hesitation I leaned in to feel her fluff with my face. Not only did she let me, she closed her eyes and settled in for whatever else I had in store. Is my response common to other older dog lovers? Do we all have this imprint that stays with us? You read the phrase, "dog print on my heart" but this sensation I feel is at a molecular level.

My time volunteering at Muttville is always satisfying, but moments with dogs like Chispa are restorative. I hope someone out there with extra love finds her. She will repay you with the sweetest breath, the kindest eyes, and a quietude to balance the noisy world of today.

Thank you Chispa for taking me back in time.

Have you noticed the similar smell between a stuffed animal and a dog? When did you know you were a dog lover?

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Discover why senior dogs rule: Fall in love with Acorn!

Have you know a dog who can fly? How about an senior Chi still so spry he can fly? Acorn, the chihuahua flew over the baby gate and into my arms on a recent visit to Muttville Senior Dog Rescue.

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If you’re looking for a sweet and spunky companion then look no further because Acorn is the pup for you!

This loving boy is full of love and personality. He is active, happy-go-lucky, and sweet as can be.

Acorn loves people and does very well with dogs of all sizes.

He enjoys burrowing, jumping from bed to bed, eating treats, and cuddling. Can Acorn be your new best friend?

Acorn is about 10 years young and weighs 10 pounds.

Catch him at Muttville on Rescue Row in San Francisco!

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Younger dog people are expecting and willing to pay for more services

Sure, people with money have always expected to get whatever they want for their furry companions but today, millennials are expecting more canine services, and are willing to pay for them.

image from nypost.com

From the New York Post:

Many urbanites use prepared-meal delivery services these days, so it’s no surprise that the trend has spread to the furry set. Ollie, a 4-month-old company based in the city, delivers fresh food made with fit-for-humans-grade ingredients, such as beef, blueberries, spinach and chia seeds. Delivery costs $20 to $50 per week. “It mirrors the way [New York humans] want to eat,’’ said co-founder Gabby Slome, 30.

 

According the American Pet Products Association, billions are spent on pet food, the most of any category they track. I expect that given how more young people are growing up with dogs treated, and seen, as beloved members of their family, they will continue that vision when they start their own household.

Treating our companion animals with compassion is never a bad thing, but it's important to try as hard as you can to embrace a dog's essential "doggieness" rather than treating them like miniature humans with human diets or desires. By all means, give your dog the healthiest food you can afford but remember, meals don't need to be complicated to be well-balanced and healthy.

Love your dog, spend time with your dog playing, and engaging with them in meaningful ways. They are with us for such a brief amount of time. Worry less about trends and more about the quality of your time together. Your memories together of hanging out, going on walks, naps on the couch, even making breakfast or dinner together will be what you care about most when they are gone.

Trying to embrace my dog in all her glory is what I am grateful for when I think back to my fluffy girl. I'm so glad I realized somewhat early in our relationship to stop worrying about making any mistakes with my caregiving, and to focus more on being in the moment with her. 

Do you have advice for millennials getting their first dogs?

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Discover why senior dogs rule: Fall in love with Leon!

How adorable is Leon!? He loves cuddle piles! This sweet chi comes to Muttville from Oakland where he was found as a stray.

image www.grouchypuppy.com

We don’t know anything about his previous life, but Leon is sweet and loves everyone he meets.

He is still getting used to his new surroundings but has already shown himself to be people-oriented, cuddly, and sweet as can be.

Leon does great with other dogs and would love to be your new BFF!

Leon is about 7 years young and weighs 6 pounds.

Find him at Muttville on Rescue Row in San Francisco!

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